4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2014
Being a fan of The Maths (ie BengeBen Edwards) and his melodic solo work, the combination with Mal from Cabs was one that needed investigation. And boy does it work well!!
The first reviewer has done an excellent job, and this is so Cabs in the vocal sense (early 80s when Mal's vox became more treated and twisted, right up to the more vocal tracks on Body and Soul/Colours EP). The instrumentation is also spot on and minimal to just the right degree, with some dance-floor stompers thrown in for good measure. The menace is still there, but with a subtle disguise that the other 2 members have cleverly crafted with him.
Rich H Kirk still produces some great solo material, though not all of the time, and once Mal stopped adding vocals Cabs ceased to feel like, well, Cabs. This release goes a long way to fill the void, and whilst a genuine Cabs reunion is extremely unlikely, its great to have Mal back in recordings that sound fresh, yet warmly retro, and make up an album that was well worth the wait!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Wrangler comprise (former Cabaret Voltaire frontman) Stephen Mallinder, Ben Edwards and Phil Winter. It's true to say that Wrangler do sound a lot like the Cabs - even borrowing the odd lyric ("Broken bodies, broken toys") and there is maybe one track on the album that is too close to the CV template ("Lava Land"). Other than that, this album pulls of the difficult feat of sounding futuristic and retro at the same time, thanks mainly to the group having, what sounds like, a host of expensive antique synths at their disposal.
I liked the Cabs last three LPs ("Plasticity", "International Language", "The Conversation") but I did miss Mallinder's vocals (since those records were almost entirely instrumental). Listening to "LA Spark" then, is a lot like a new Cabaret Voltaire album from their 1980s heyday. When, on the title track, you hear Mallinder's hissed out "I don't need this intonation/Answering your ****ing questions" - it's like a welcome home. And then there's the LP's killer track "Harder": "Harder, sharper, always smarter" whispers/sings Stephen to a Kraftwerkian rhythm. Guaranteed to move just about any dance floor.
If you're wondering what period of Cabaret Voltaire this CD sounds like, it does in fact cover almost the whole spectrum, from "Nag Nag Nag" to "Body and Soul". None of this praise is to diminish the work of Mal's former CV partner Richard H. Kirk who is (also) a genius, it's just that it's good to have that voice back. Nor do I mean to shift the focus from Ben Edwards and Phil Winter - this record sounds fantastic - particularly the subtle analogue sounds.
As a long-standing fan of Cabaret Voltaire I was always going to buy "LA Spark" even though I wasn't too sure what to expect. But in fact Wrangler have come up with one of my favourites of 2014 so far.